Spokane School Board To Vote On New Budget Tonight

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Spokane school district staff and parents talk at a May 2019 budget workshop at Shadle Park High School. The school board will vote on the 2019-20 budget Wednesday night.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Spokane school board is scheduled to adopt a budget for the school year that starts later this month during its meeting tonight [Wednesday].

Four weeks ago Spokane school administrators presented to the school board a $460 million budget. It was filled with spending reductions that board members wished they could avoid.

Board member Michael Wiser suggested his colleagues divert about three million that had been destined for a reserve account to fill some of the gaps. Though the budget was on the table for adoption, board member Deana Brower suggested the board take extra time before a vote.

“I’d like to think that we can put our heads together as a board and work with staff to find a solution that best serves our students and our community," Brower said.

And so they did. Over the last four weeks, board members, including chair Sue Chapin, have been looking at a variety of options, including reducing the number of two-grade level combination classes the district will institute this fall.
“If we are going to make some adjustments in the budget, I’d like to bring back some custodians to maintain the buildings that we have and a decrease in combo classrooms. I think those pose a lot of challenges," Chapin said.

It appears some combination of the items mentioned by Chapin will be part of the new budget. It will not include a second voter approved property tax levy.

The school board will meet tonight at 7 at the district’s administration building.